In order to become an adult, a child essentially has to learn responsibility. He has to learn to respect the world, other people, animals and plants. He has to learn how to live as a human being and how to be part of a much bigger world. He has to develop skills and gain knowledge of the world in order to take care of himself and maybe his family. So growing up ideally means that we become responsible human beings. We leave our innocence behind and a certain seriousness sets in. But seriousness is not responsibility. We see very serious men making a lot of money waging wars, destroying the planet, destroying the environment, destroying people. There is something amiss with our fundamental understanding of maturity and responsibility. In our society responsibility is little understood.
Responsibility, if not seen in proper perspective, is a trap. And unless there's clarity about responsibility people are going to rebel against it. We intuit that freedom is our most basic truth, not responsibility. At the same time we intuitively feel that responsibility should not be avoided. Responsibility, the real thing, won't come into existence as long as we are struggling with the dilemma of on the one hand feeling that we should be responsible, and on the other hand having a deep desire to be free of responsibility. A complete understanding of responsibility is the key to psychological freedom.
True responsibility is of a voluntary nature. Responsibility can never be forced. Neither by someone else, nor by ourselves. Force cannot create responsible human beings. The flower of human responsibility cannot blossom in that way. True responsibility emerges out of freedom, or it is not responsibility. Responsibility should be a free response, a true response. Like a circle is round, responsibility is voluntary.
What is forced responsibility? When responsibility is forced upon us and it's not our conscious, free choice, it is not true responsibility. We are manipulated into it. Feelings of guilt or fear are exploited and responsibility is nothing but a facade, it is just feeling guilty or being afraid. And out of this guilt or fear we assume a so-called responsibility. When responsibility is psychologically forced upon us, it becomes an ordeal and a burden because of the involuntary nature of this would-be responsibility. We either take responsibility willingly, out of freedom, or it is not responsibility.
What happens if something is not our free choice? We rebel against it, in one way or another. A coerced responsibility will avenge itself in the rebellion of irresponsibility. We will go to the other extreme. We'll rebel against a feeling of responsibility that has been forced upon our psyche. When we don't really want to take responsibility, we are very resourceful in finding places to shift responsibility to: we shift it to other people, our parents, our past, our economy, or our political leaders. And political leaders are in many ways followers instead of leaders! As values in society change - e.g. the environment becoming more important - they suddenly becomes a political issue. Politicians have to follow what's considered important in society or they will simply not be elected. Irresponsibility and the tendency to shift responsibilities come from a natural rebellion against unnatural responsibility.
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Principles and Paradigms
» 3. Innocence
- What is Forced Responsibility?
Inresponsibility, not Irresponsibility
Ego and Psychological Liberation
5. Alive Silence